Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has the reputation of being a sexually transmitted disease. That’s because it is an STD. But, it’s also a virus that can pass from a mom to her newborn at or soon after birth.
Pregnant women can become infected with HBV and not know it, then pass it on to their newborns. OBs will test at-risk women early in the pregnancy and again at birth, but what if you’re not considered at-risk and you get infected?
Giving a newborn the birth dose of the HBV vaccine is important because if a newborn becomes infected with hepatitis B, that baby has a 90 percent chance of staying infected – being chronically infected – for life.
This infection may never cause any harm, but it could cause liver damage, liver cancer or even death.
Treatment options are not great and, because there is a vaccine for HBV, not a lot of money gets put into this research. They’re not even searching for a cure, just possible ways to stop the damage caused by the viral infection.
Get vaccinated. Get your babies and children vaccinated. Hepatitis B is around and no one can say how it will act in any one body. Why take the chance?